Hiking as nature's therapy

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Southern New Hampshire University
Hiking is a favorite recreational activity of Americans. It allows for one to stay in physical shape while exploring nature. This paper explores how hiking can be used as a therapy with benefits for the mind, body and spirit. Hiking has been shown to demonstrate a change in a person’s attitude which leads to changing behavior. This change in attitude and behavior creates a positive outlook on one’s self, relationships, and life. The literature provides personal stories of how hiking has been able to improve one’s state of mind which then helps to improve their life. Other literature explored showcases studies demonstrate hiking’s positive effect on mental illness and cognitive functioning. Research conducted with Southern New Hampshire University’s Region Geography integrates personal interviews of students’ perceptions of hiking and its benefits. Students describe hiking as a calming and positive experience. The following research effectively explores the topic and helps to determine that hiking can be used as a therapy. (Author abstract)